Team USA, as always, is talented. But as the Americans try to improve on their third-place finish four years ago, it's also a team with several members still learning the ropes of a competition at this level.
Becky Hammon, whose decision to play for Russia in the Olympics garnered a lot of media scrutiny and criticism, has had quite a year. But despite getting swept out of the WNBA Finals, she'll look back on 2008 as a time she cherishes.
The U.S.-Russia rivalry goes all the way back to the 1950s and was pretty lopsided in favor of the Soviets for a long time. But Team USA, which plays its old foe Thursday, has come out on top in recent years.
Maybe the most intriguing part of the Americans' 79-74 victory over Russia for gold at the World Championships was that it highlighted how even the best separate themselves into subsets, such as the best of the best.